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Convalescent plasma therapy, also known as plasma therapy, is among the best therapies to treat critically ill patients of COVID-19. This treatment method has been used in earlier pandemics such as SARS, MERS and H1N1 to treat patients.
As the cases of coronavirus are increasing day by day, healthcare professionals are struggling to treat their patients or to lower their symptoms to an extent. This adjuvant therapy has benefited a lot of COVID-19 patients since last year and is still treating patients with severe symptoms of the coronavirus.
In this article, we will discuss the dos and don'ts of plasma therapy which a person must keep in their mind before donating or receiving plasma. Take a look.
What Is Plasma Therapy?
Plasma therapy is a treatment method in which convalescent blood products such as plasma are taken from patients who have already recovered from the infection, and is administered to patients who are currently suffering from COVID-19 and have lower chances of recovery. 
Plasma is the largest part of the blood and makes for more than half of the entire blood content. When separated from the blood, it appears clear and light yellow liquid.
Plasma is mainly asked for a donation as along with salt, enzymes, proteins and water, they also contain antibodies, which may help plasma donors to recover soon from their illness by boosting their immunity. This is because, as your antibodies have helped you fight the virus, they can also help others fight the same infection.
Compared to last year, coronavirus has triple mutated this year and is affecting people at a faster rate with diverse symptoms. This means that the new strain of coronavirus has the ability to affect the immune system quicker in comparison to its previous variant.
To cope with the new strain, our antibodies may require some time to evolve too and fight back. Therefore, if plasma from a recovered patient is administered to patients who are still recovering from the condition, chances are that their body will offer instant immunity and treat the condition sooner by reducing symptoms.
Who Can Donate Plasma?
Plasma donors can successfully save many lives of people suffering from COVID-19. However, there are certain limitations to who and when can a person donate their plasma.
A person can donate plasma if:
- You have been tested positive for COVID-19 and have fully recovered or have tested negative now for the infection.
- You don't experience any symptoms for 14 days after recovering from the condition.
- You should have high levels of antibodies in your plasma.
- Your age is between 18-60 years.
Who Cannot Donate Plasma?
Even if you have recovered from COVID-19, you cannot donate plasma if you fall under the below-mentioned categories:
- Underweight or less than 50 kg.
- Have diabetes
- Is pregnant
- Have uncontrolled high blood pressure
- Have cancer or is a cancer survivor.
- Have certain chronic lung/kidney or heart conditions.
When Can You Request For Plasma?
A COVID-19 patient can request plasma if:
- The same has been prescribed to the patient by a medical expert.
- Patients have low levels of plasma in their blood.
- If you are critically ill and have a donor with the same blood group.
Do's And Don'ts
1. Carry a hard copy of your negative RT-PCR test for four months with identity proof such as an Aadhar card.
2. In this way, you may save some time If you are asymptomatic, you can donate only after 14 days of a COVID-19 positive report. If you are symptomatic, you can donate after 14 days of the resolution of your symptoms.
3. Women who have ever been pregnant cannot donate plasma. This is because, according to some studies, plasma from women who were pregnant or have children, are known to cause lung damage or incidence of lung diseases in the recipients. Also, in pregnant women or a mother, some antibodies belong to her partner, which may cause adverse effects when given to COVID-19 patients.
4. People who have been vaccinated for COVID-19 can donate plasma after 28 days from the date of vaccination.
5. If you have been found with lesser plasma levels, you may be rejected from being a donor.
6. These rules have been set as per the Drugs and Cosmetics Act and Rules.
Plasma donation facilities are available or made available to every city due to increasing coronavirus cases. You can visit your nearest donation centre and donate the plasma, after getting checked. Save the lives of others by donating your plasma and take a step forward in fighting the pandemic.